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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Pat Travers

Swing!

Review by Gary Hill

Pat Travers is best known for bluesy, guitar-based hard rock. We get some of that influence here. It’s merged with big band instrumentation and arrangements on new versions of old songs from that big band era. There is a bit of a Brian Setzer Big Band vibe to the project, but with Travers’ unique guitar style. This is more than anything else, a lot of fun. It is one of the freshest takes on older music that I’ve heard in a long time. It’s a winner from start to finish.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Sing Sing Sing
Drums lead this into being and hold it for a decent amount of time. The other instruments join and this has a Stray Cats meets big band kind of sound to it. Travers lays down some smoking hot guitar work on this thing. There are some cool twists and turns along this road. It’s a lot of fun.
Opus One
The jazz stylings are all over this cool tune. It has a great walking bass pattern. Piano and horns bring their own magic. There is some killer guitar work on this, lending a rock sound to it. Beyond that, though this arrangement could fit in with the standard sounds of the 1920s and 1930s.
Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby
I dig the cool blues groove on this thing. While the first two songs were instrumentals, Travers delivers some killer vocals on this tune. I've always loved the title of this number
In the Mood
I’ve always been a big fan of this song. Hearing it done with rocking guitar is such a cool thing. The tune grooves and really rocks. It’s just a lot of fun.
Take the 'A' Train
The guitar brings some train sounds on the introduction. The cut works out to the familiar melodies from there with an old-time jazz treatment at its heart. The guitar delivers some smoking hot guitar soloing further down the road. This cut includes some great drumming and interesting piano fills, too.
Let the Good Times Roll
A bluesy rocker, this is another cut with vocals. It’s a smoking hot rocking tune. This one is a lot less big band than some of the others are.
Apple Honey
The guitar on this is so potent. The tune is high energy. It really represents a great merging of hard rocking sounds with jazz sensibilities and instrumentation. It does a great job of creating a middle ground between the two styles. Travers gets a killer solo in the middle of the piece.
Tenderly
A slow moving tune, there is a great jazz meets blues arrangement as the backdrop. Travers weaves lines of evocative guitar soloing throughout much of the the length of the piece. It’s all class and an interesting way to end the set.
 
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